Saturday, May 25, 2013

RIP Stump

The week after I officially became functional again, Steven gave me a to-do list (I'm sure it was a nice role reversal for him). One item was to get rid of the stump in our back yard; it has always been there and is a pain to mow around, and I'm not sure why exactly it has taken us 5 years to take care of it. I made a 20 second phone call and someone showed up that afternoon to grind it.

As soon as he arrived, though, Carmen suddenly developed an inexplicable emotional attachment to the stump. I was surprised she even knew where the stump was. I tried telling her that the stump was excited to turn into a bunch of cute little wood chips, but she was unconvinced. The only way I was able to (sort of) console her was to snap a picture for us all to remember our beloved stump by:

(Please note that by the time Steven got home from work, she was happy and excited to show him where the stump had been.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sunday Best

Yes, I love dressing little boys for church.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


 Here is the most amazing thing about April 30th: the months of all-consuming worry, intense physical and emotional hardship, a potentially life-threatening situation, just vanished in an instant.

Everyone, meet Miles Robert Brown. He’s the happy end of the story, and because he’s here and safe, everything that was wrong is now right.

Here’s the summary.

Bed Rest
Do you know how much fun it is to have your mobility taken from you, and live in a state of uncertainty and fear for two lives, for 6 weeks? (Hint: it’s not fun.) I hated having to put up virtual blinders up as I helplessly saw my life being run on someone else’s terms. Perhaps the most frustrating part was my inability to relieve stress (caused by the bed rest itself) by physical movement. I do this a lot – exercising, cleaning, etc. So many times I just dissolved (no, not literally) into tears because I had so much frustration inside and I just wanted to move to relieve it.

I am so very blessed to be surrounded by kind, helpful people. Between friends, church members, neighbors, piano parents, and family, I was probably the most cared-for bed rester I can envision. When I switched OBs, the new one asked, “You’ve been on bed rest?” Yes. “With three small kids?” Yes. “HOW?” Because the people who make up my world are so good and kind.

Even for me, reading, crossword puzzled, movies and TV get old really fast. A week or so into my bed rest, I discovered FamilySearch indexing. It was something worthwhile and productive that I could do from my bed. And it’s fun! I did 10,000 names in April alone.

One draw of indexing was the hope of being inspired with a name for our baby. However, between Mexican death certificates, Maori passenger lists, and Mississipian Enumerations of Educable Children, what I got instead was a personal compilation of names I couldn’t dream up. (Note: These were all listed as males.) My favorites:

Dealie Fortune
Bilbo Bufkin
Pussy Futch
Buster Wamsley
Horatio Zingerling
Buberd Baldwin
Aylon Putt
Mayo Grubbs
Leo Pope
Memory Leake Sprayberry
R B Irby
Tincie Rakestraw
Earsor Suddeth
Marzene Thrash

Amusing, yes, but inspiring...not so much.

My Kids
Were awesome. Olivia and Carmen were so calm and adaptable to being without a functional mother. They were unbelievably understanding of my situation, that that helped me so much. Explaining to them why I was bleeding and why I needed to rest, and their reacting so matter-of-factly, was so calming to me. Carmen in particular was tickled by the idea of someone cutting me open and sewing me up and getting to admire the big owie afterwards.

Damon had the hardest time, and that was hard to see. It’s been nice in the weeks since Miles’ birth to see him come back from his distant, confused haze. It’s also sweet to know that even vigilant caregivers can’t take the place of his mommy, and he missed me at least as much as I missed him.

Switching OBs
After many weeks of displeasure stemming from dismissive office staff and poor procedures, and my OB’s indifference to them (and to my feelings), I took the plunge and switched OBs at 35 weeks – just after my last appointment with the high risk OB (to ensure that the placenta really wasn’t going to move). Perks of switching included being able to deliver at the Woman’s Hospital downtown (probably a better option anyway for a high-risk pregnancy), being able to say I had a different OB and different hospital for every one of my children, and of course, sticking it to the doctor who didn’t think she needed to factor me into the scheduling of my c-section.

Family Reunion
My family reunion was scheduled to be at our local beach for the week I ended up having to have the c-section. This was less than ideal, and thinking about it tends to make me angry, so I’ll leave it there. The good thing was that at least my kids got to have fun at the beach while I was in the hospital, and I guess everyone was able to see the new baby.

So, on April 29th, Steven and I drove down to the beach with my parents and siblings and their families. I was glad to at least be able to have one day of reunion. The next morning, we took a family picture on the beach, and then Steven and I drove up to the hospital. We needed to arrive at 11 so they could prepare blood in case of a transfusion. Then we waited and tried to distract ourselves.

I felt okay, but that I was in a surreal dream, until a few minutes before 2:00. Then I started to feel scared. I prayed a lot. I wished for and dreaded a feeling of reality. Then the nurses came in and walked me over to the operating room.

The nurses were just really nice. They were laughing and cordial while they prepped the room. It made me start to feel better. Then the anesthesiologist came in. “So, why are you having a c-section?” I have placenta previa. “Did it move?” Well, no – that’s why I’m here. “Ah, good point.” Then he started to give me my epidural, narrating what was going to happen and what I would feel. He was impressively punctual – as soon as he said I’d feel a burning sensation, I felt it. “It’s like magic!” I remarked. “As soon as you said that, my legs got tingly.” He gave a smirk and said, “That’s not the first time I’ve heard that.” That set everyone laughing, and that’s when things got fun.

The nurses continued prepping, painting my belly, and I started feeling good emotionally and feeling nothing below my ribs. Then my doctor came in, the sheet was up, and they brought in Steven. He sat down and held my hand. I was smiling. The doctor poked me some more to make sure I was numb, then said, “Okay, we’re going to have a baby in a minute.” “You already started?” I said. I’d felt them moving things around (while the doctor commented how wiggly the baby was), but I hadn’t realized that they were already cutting.
Then Steven said, “Oh, he’s mad.” “You see him?!?” I said. Then I heard a nice, strong cry.

I was so, so happy. He was perfect.

6 lbs. 7 oz., 20.5 inches. Born at 2:39 pm. The surgery was perfect, with no complications for either of us. He was perfectly healthy. They kept him in the nursery for a couple of hours under a warmer because he was “grunting,” which I guess is common in c-section babies where the fluid doesn’t get squeezed out during birth. (They were also concerned about my ΓΌber-low blood pressure, but they eventually got over it when they realized that’s just how it is, and always has been.) He was able to join me in my room after dinner, and we’ve been together ever since.